Author Interview with Adrian Churchward

How long have you been writing?

I began late in life. I have been writing seriously only since 2008, mostly unproduced screenplays. Moscow Bound is my first novel. The idea came to me in 1998 and underwent a slow germination until 2010, when I started the book .

What is your favourite genre to write?

Politico-legal thrillers/suspense.

Which genre have you never tried before, but would like to try out?

Dystopian: à la Orwell, Attwood, Huxley, Zinoviev.

 Please tell us about your book.

Ekaterina Romanova, the estranged wife of Russia’s wealthiest oligarch Konstantin Gravchenko, asks Scott Mitchell, an idealistic young English human rights lawyer who is being intimidated by the authorities, to find the father she’s never met. She believes he’s been languishing for decades without trial in the Gulag system. Meanwhile, General Pravda of military intelligence, though an advocate of transparency, is determined to protect a covert operation that he’s been running for years.

General Pravda hinders Ekaterina and Scott at every turn and lawyer and client are forced to go on the run for a murder they didn’t commit. As they descend into the Hades that is the world of international realpolitik Scott is compelled to reconsider his own values, and Pravda’s life’s work disintegrates when Scott uncovers a 50 year-old Cold War secret, which both the Russian and US governments are still trying to hide from the public domain.

Which character was your favourite, and why? Which character was your least favourite, and why?

Favourite: Sophie Menke, a feisty non-pc US lawyer operating In Moscow. She knows how to survive in a society that doesn’t respect the rule of law. She tries to protect and advise Scott Mitchell, her close friend and the protagonist; sometimes she’s unsuccessful. I have no “least favourite” character. Even the slippery antagonist, Frank Ferlito, genuinely believes that what he’s doing is in America’s best interest.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

There was nothing hard about the writing; it just flowed. Of course, it went through many drafts, professional structuring and continuity edits and a final professional proof read. But I found the process of writing a pleasure, with no downside.

What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing?

I make notes whenever ideas spring to mind. This could be any time during the day or night – interrupted sleep is an unfortunate consequence of being a writer. I generally write the narrative from about 2pm onwards, on and off, until about 10pm. I find it mentally difficult to write in the morning.

To start writing I need a storyline or character attribute, plus a physical space free of distractions and temptations.

How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?

Four years, on and off. I have to work as a legal consultant for 2/3 days a week – to keep the wolves from the door and my grandchildren in presents.

Can you tell us about your editing process?

As I said above, I employ professional editors and proof readers, usually after I have written four or five drafts. I also self-edit as I go along; sometimes by sentence, paragraph or chapter. There is no hard and fast rule; whatever suits you best.

Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?

Moscow Bound is the first in the Puppet Meisters Trilogy. The second book, Dancing With Shadows, is scheduled for publication in March/April 2017. The trilogy’s theme is state abuse of power.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

The best advice I ever received is “the writing is in the rewriting”. It’s a cliché, but it is so true. As aspiring authors we all think that our first draft is a masterpiece. Invariably, it isn’t. Usually, it’s crap. Rewriting hones our writing skills, turning the incoherent and unreadable into something we ourselves would want to buy and read.

Why should everyone read your book?

I try to write easy-to-read politico-legal fiction which at the same time, I hope, reveals to the reader what is going on in the world in our name, but not necessarily with our consent.

If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which authors would you choose?

Dostoyevsky, Dostoyevsky and Dostoyevsky. He was an impoverished gambler, epileptic and put in front of the Tsar’s firing squad before being pardoned at the last minute for anti-government activities. Despite all this, he wrote some of the world’s masterpieces.

What inspired you to write your book?

In 1998, I read about two seemingly unconnected events that took place in the 1970s and I put the two together, applying the “What if?” maxim. If I tell you what those events were, it will spoil the story for new readers.

Are you working on something at the moment ? If so, can you tell us more about it?

As mentioned above, I am working on Dancing With Shadows. The second story in the trilogy sees Scott back in London after having been deported from Russia for alleged anti-Russian activities. His world is suddenly and unexpectedly shattered when the British police publicly arrest him on suspicion of laundering 250 million dollars for the Chechens.

He becomes a pawn in a power play being fought out between the British police, MI6 and the Russian FSB. Fuelling Scott’s trepidation is his suspicion that Ekaterina’s oligarch husband is waiting to pounce; but as friend or foe?

As Scott fights to clear his name, he is forced ineluctably down the helter-skelter of political intrigue into the cesspool of multi-state corruption where he must choose between his unswerving belief in the supremacy of the rule of law (“without it we have anarchy”) and pragmatism.

About the Author

author-photo-1Between 1984 and 1998 Adrian Churchward lived and worked in Moscow, Budapest and Prague as an East–West trade lawyer, representing British, American and German corporations.

  During this period he became proficient in translating Russian commercial and legal texts into English.

  He was one of the few Western lawyers working in the day-today arena of President Gorbachev’s liberalisation process of perestroika and glasnost, and which ultimately resulted in the collapse of communism and disintegration of the Soviet Union.

  In 1991, he witnessed the abortive coup against Gorbachev and in 1993, he was again present in Moscow when Yeltsin ordered the shelling of the Russian parliament building, aka the “The Russian White House”.

  He lives in London where he divides his endeavours between working as a part time legal consultant and writing political suspense novels.

  He has two daughters, one son and five grandchildren.

About Moscow Bound

moscowboundScott Mitchell is a young English human rights lawyer who operates in Moscow defending persecuted ethnic minorities. He returns to the city from a successful prosecution of the Russian government in Strasburg for war crimes committed against the Chechens and is instructed by an enigmatic beauty to search for her missing father.

Ekaterina Romanova, the estranged wife of Russia’s wealthiest oligarch Konstantin Gravchenko, asks Scott to find the father she’s never met. She believes he’s been languishing for decades without trial in the Gulag system. Meanwhile, General Pravda of military intelligence, though an advocate of transparency, is determined to protect a covert operation that he’s been running for years.

General Pravda hinders Ekaterina and Scott at every turn and lawyer and client are forced to go on the run for a murder they didn’t commit. As they descend into the Hades that is the world of international realpolitik Scott is compelled to reconsider his own values, and Pravda’s life’s work disintegrates, when Scott uncovers a 50 year-old Cold War secret, which both the Russian and US governments are still trying to hide from the public domain.

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